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Do you you keep ketchup in the fridge or cupboard? We're here for the debate

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

It's one of the biggest condiment controversies of our time - should ketchup be kept in the cupboard or in the fridge? Heinz set the internet abuzz recently when their U.K. branch tweeted their belief that ketchup is a dish best served cold. And, of course, the Twitterverse (ph) did its thing with passionate defenders of both cold and room temp ketchup weighing in. And since every Fourth of July, hundreds of millions of hot dogs and hamburgers are consumed, we wanted to - and I'm really sorry about this one - catch up with someone familiar with the science behind this debate.

MEL KRAMER: I'm Dr. Mel Kramer, and personally, I keep ketchup, as well as mustard, in the refrigerator.

SUMMERS: Me too. Kramer, who heads a food safety consulting firm in Florida, says to exercise caution with long-term ketchup storage but...

KRAMER: If you're saying a couple of days, the answer would probably be, categorically, no. If you're talking about six, eight, 10, 12 months, there is a good possibility that these microorganisms could get inside the ketchup when you open and close it, and you have the risk of potentially having mold. You have a higher probability of spoilage microorganisms - can have an off taste and off flavor and off colors, too.

SUMMERS: And Kramer adds that the longer someone keeps ketchup on the shelf, the more likely it is to lose nutritional value, though that's not an issue for most.

KRAMER: Ketchup is a condiment. It certainly is not something that one would have to use as a food for their daily dietary intake.

SUMMERS: Still, even if the science is settled, the public debate is far from over. Even our own ALL THINGS CONSIDERED staff came down on both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1, BYLINE: The ketchup goes in the fridge, man.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2, BYLINE: I no longer put it in the frigerator (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3, BYLINE: I keep it in the fridge.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4, BYLINE: Once I open something, it goes in the fridge.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5, BYLINE: I've never seen ketchup kept in the refrigerator at a restaurant, so I keep my bottles of ketchup and packets of ketchup in a cupboard.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6, BYLINE: The ketchup is always kept in the fridge.

SUMMERS: Of course, you can always just stick with mustard. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Gabriel J. Sánchez
Gabriel J. Sánchez is a producer for NPR's All Things Considered. Sánchez identifies stories, books guests, and produces what you hear on air. Sánchez also directs All Things Considered on Saturdays and Sundays.

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